Monday, 1 October 2018


This day 60 years ago was a Wednesday, and that’s when Pixie, Dixie and Mr. Jinks were first seen on television—in Chicago, that is. Oh, and Fresno. They all appeared the night before on TV sets in Los Angeles and the night before that on glowing living-room boxes in Indianapolis. As we’ve mentioned earlier on the blog, in 1958 Kellogg’s bought four half-hours a week on TV stations across the U.S. and Canada; one was a slot for The Huckleberry Hound Show. It was scheduled on whatever night that, presumably, Kellogg’s thought it would play best. In Windy City, that was at 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays on WGN-TV.

Pixie and Dixie were almost zeroes. The real star of their cartoons was Mr. Jinks. Larry Wolters of the Chicago Tribune wrote “Jinksie sounds like a guy who trained at the Actors studio. His readings are some time a little reminiscent of Marlon Brando.” The Jinks voice of Daws Butler is pretty much one that Stan Freberg employed in his record “Sh-Boom” where he made fun of Method Acting. Daws and Freberg, as you know, worked on radio and records in the ‘50s.

To mark their 60th birthday, I’ve been trying to think of some of the P & D cartoons I really like and it’s been a little tough. In the first season, there are cartoons with solid takes (mainly by Mike Lah and Carlo Vinci) but the story drags. Once Warren Foster arrived to write the last three seasons, the cartoons become dialogue heavy but Jinks doesn’t always have funny lines; the humour comes from Daws’ delivery. There are good moments but the Pixie and Dixie cartoons aren’t as solid as Huckleberry Hound or Yogi Bear.

These ones come to mind as enjoyable cartoons. Your selection would probably be different. And, yes, the cartoon with Cousin Batty missed the list.

Jiggers .. It’s Jinks (November 17, 1958)
Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera weren’t above stealing from their Tom and Jerry cartoons at MGM for cartoons at their own studio. The idea of firing the cat and replacing him with a fast robot version comes right from “Old Rockin’ Chair Tom” (1948). Here, Pixie and Dixie team with Jinks to get him his job back. A great sloping walk cycle, bluish backgrounds from Bob Gentle and a bizarre observation gag (“I’m air conditioned,” Jinks declares when a cannon ball goes through him and leaves a hole) are highlights. Jinks turns on the meeces and literally falls flat. Dialogue by Charlie Shows.

Jinks’ Mice Device (October 20, 1958)
“So, that’s the scoop-a-rooney, eh?” declares Jinksie when Pixie and Dixie let on that Jinks didn’t kill them, he just made them invisible, thus being responsible for a wave of terror-in-the-house against him. Mike Lah is handed a sequence in this short and gives Jinks a few nice cracking-up expressions. The opening shot of Fernando Montealegre’s flat, ‘50s-art-style house is a bonus. Dialogue by Charlie Shows.

Mark of the Mouse (January 19, 1959)
A cartoon within a cartoon, Carlo Vinci pain takes, a wonderful electric shock take, the phoney Jinks overacting and the Mark of the Mouse theme song make this a favourite. The “end” really is the end. One of our expert readers insists Howard McNear was brought in for one cartoon to play the Zorro-like mouse and I’m sure he’s right. This was the last H-B cartoon Sam Clayberger worked on; Clayburger was the last of the original Huck show artists to pass away as he died earlier this year. Dialogue by Charlie Shows.

Hypnotize Surprise (February 9, 1959).
The H-B braintrust didn’t really come up with an ending for this one. At the seven-minute mark, the cartoon simply stops. This is another one where a Tom and Jerry short (“Nit-Wit Kitty” from 1951) forms the basis of the plot. Both cartoons even have the hypnotised cat, thinking it’s a mouse, eating swiss cheese. Lew Marshall, the weakest of the four H-B animators at the time, comes up with a weird walk cycle for Jinks that I like. Best exchange—Dixie: “You are a dog.” Jinks (sceptically): “Uh, sure I am.” The cat then starts barking to prove it. Dialogue by Charlie Shows.

A Good Good Fairy (December 28, 1959)
Another cartoon where seemingly unexplainable things happen to Mr. Jinks. It’s a bizarre cartoon where Pixie and Dixie turn into bulldogs, alligators and, finally, fruit, thanks to the power of their fairy godmother’s wand. The old mouse gets in a few nice cracks, and complains that nobody believes in her any more “Everybody’s a wise guy. To them, I’m just an old lady with a star on a stick.” This was one of Jean Vander Pyl’s early Hanna-Barbera jobs. Story by Warren Foster.

Lend-Lease Meece (December 21, 1959).
George Nicholas’ poses of Jinks in this cartoon are tops. Jinks has some beautiful dialogue as he switches from anger at his meeces leaving him to disbelief as Pixie and Dixie pretend not to remember him. Jinks tries to hint at new neighbour Charlie to give back Pixie and Dixie (Jinks: “Mice day today, huh? It looks like it’ll be mice tomorrow, too.” Charlie: “Thanks for the weather report.”). I love the pathetic white mouse (played by Don Messick) who goes on and on about nobody wanting him and never having a home. Story by Warren Foster.

Heavens to Jinksie (January 18, 1960).
Another cartoon that owes a little something to a Tom and Jerry short (1949’s “Heavenly Puss”) and a Sylvester cartoon (1954’s “Satan’s Waitin’). Jinks gets knocked out and heads upward where a disembodied voice tells him to be nice to the mice. I like the outline drawings of Jinks when he’s Up There. Pixie and Dixie aren’t as horribly sadistic as MGM’s Jerry but they degrade him a bit. Some good dialogue again (Dixie: “He acts if he’s sort of, kind of, uh...” Pixie: “Nuts.” Dixie: “Yeah, that’s it.”). A “book-keeping error” means Jinks has plenty of lives left so he goes back to terrorising the meeces with his trusty broom. Story by Warren Foster.

Bird-Brained Cat (November 23, 1959).
In his second season, Jinks obsessed over goldfish and a bird. Both have some solid poses (Dick Lundy in the first cartoon, Don Patterson in the second), but I’m picking this one over the other. Jinks wails about his fate if he gives in to his temptation. He’ll be thrown out into the cold. “What a terrible thing to happen to a spoiled house cat and quite loveable house pet!” Pixie and Dixie help cure him of his canary-itis so he resumes chasing the meeces to end the cartoon. Story by Warren Foster.

Pushy Cat (February 15, 1960).
I admit I only like this cartoon because of the freeloading Arnold who shows up like an old friend on Jinks’ doorstep. Jinks has no idea who he is. There’s no indication at all in the cartoon whether Arnold is merely a fraud or if he really had a kinship with Jinks many years earlier. One way or the other isn’t really germane to the plot. Jinks accidentally gets rid of the meece-covetous Arnold by throwing a stick of dynamite which, as we all knows, casually lies around in any cartoon home. Story by Warren Foster.

Meece Missiles (1961-1962 season).
The paucity of third and fourth season Pixie and Dixie cartoons on the list shows you how little I think of them (there were 22 in all). I’ve picked this one because there’s some actual satire in it. Jinks tricks the meeces into going in a hot air balloon that he hopes will send them endlessly floating. Instead, it’s mistaken for a UFO by the U.S. military. But, naturally, the American government line is there are no such things, so after being brought back to Earth, Pixie and Dixie appear on TV in an interview reeking with phoney American patriotism. (Pixie: “We made the flight as our contribution to our nation’s space effort.” Newsman: “We could all learn from those heroes.”). Story by Warren Foster.

You might pick “Judo Jack” because of the pretzel poses, or “Cousin Tex” because of the branding animation (both by Mike Lah) or “Dinky Jinks” with its small-cat silliness. You might even pick one of the mini-cartoons where the Pixie/Dixie/Jinks war is limited to one gag (and not having to fill another 6½ minutes). Regardless, for a cartoon that was, to many, the weakest of the three on the Huck series, Mr. Jinks tried his best to make it shine and I think that’s why fans still like him today.


  1. Has a non-animated cartoon paired Mr. Jinks with former politician(?) Edwin Meese. LOLXD

  2. I'd probably pick the Kellogg's Raisin Bran Beatles/Beach Boys parody commercial, done 2 1/2 years after the final regular cartoons were released. Almost all Jinxy/Daws, with Pixie & Dixie reduced to backup singers.

  3. Weakest? Mr. Jinks? No! That's not true. The middle cartoon was designed to be supporting cast with Huck and Yogi wrapped around. In a way, it was an attempt to give Tom of Tom & Jerry a voice. Jinks was Daws's favorite character. He was laconic, used big words, stretched out and over articulated some words, slurred others. The voice is a twist on Stan Freberg's Marlon Brando voice on Shaboom!

    So who are these people he dismiss Jinks. In your article you state:

    " Regardless, for a cartoon that was, to many, the weakest of the three on the Huck series.."

    Who are these "many"?

  4. The earlier Mr. Jinx cartoons were my favorites. Loved Daws' characterization of this character. I also loved the Capitol Hi-Q cuts they used in " Heavens to Jinksie ". Don Messick in his booming baritone' " MISTER JINX!!"

  5. I remember the discussion on the Zorro mouse having Howard MacNear's voice by the readerr and I agree with him (and am a HUGE HUGE MacNear fan...he's heard as doctors, vets pareticularly in a few classic Flintstones, and was on at least in animation "Calvin and the Colonel" & "Mr.Magoo", and the live action "Andy Griffith" (1960-1968). Mr.Jinks is hilariously funny and wry!SC